An Entertainment based on the words and music of
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
devised by Benny Green and Alan Strachen
Original production by Bernard Miles at the Mermaid Theatre
“There’s no love song finer, but how strange, the change from major to minor”
Cole Porter was one of the great song-writers of the twentieth century – his wit and playful style in lyrics and music will never be surpassed. Richard Rodgers said of him, “Few people realise how architecturally excellent his music is. There’s a foundation, a structure and an embellishment – add the emotion he puts in and the result is unmistakable Cole Porter”.
A cast of ten actors and musicians will entertain you with over forty of Cole Porter’s songs.
Georgina is from Surrey and graduated from the London School of Musical Theatre last year. Prior to that she trained at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon. During her student years Georgina performed the roles of the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz and more recently Frieda in the new musical Hope at the Cochrane Theatre as well as many showcases. In 2002 Georgina produced and starred in a one-woman concert One Day I’ll Fly Away at the Charles Cryer theatre, Carshalton. In March of this year she made her debut Upstairs at the Gatehouse as a dancer in the new musical Czarinas. Other credits include Mary/Chief Priest in The Easter Story, Fairy Daisy/Princess Beauty in Sleeping Beauty, Ronny in Hair, Anita in West Side Story and a vocalist at the Children’s BAFTA Awards. Georgina is delighted to be performing in Cole.
John trained at LAMDA where his most notable achievement was to share a flat with Clive Hornby (Jack Sugden in Emmerdale). Touring roles include Second Officer in Twelfth Night, Third Passer-by in Send Me No Flowers, Programme Seller in The Rocky Horror Show and Tall Rabbi in the Crowd in Fiddler on the Roof. Cole will be John’s second appearance Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Who could forget (fortunately many did) his definitive ‘Funny Policeman’ in From a Jack to a King. The Narrator role provides a new challenge in his long & varied career. Playing the drums takes him back to 1964.
Chris grew up in Stoke-on-Trent before going on to study violin and piano at the Purcell School and then conducting at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Chris has worked as Musical Director on such diverse shows as a national tour of Man of La Mancha in which he also played the barber, Ned Sherrin’s Lunchtime Chat Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Singing in the Rain at Birmingham Old Rep and was also the Musical Director for the National Youth Music Theatre’s acclaimed production of Into the Woods. He has written arrangements for The Supremes and worked on The Threepenny Opera in New York. Chris has been Musical Director on five pantomimes at the Theatre Royal Windsor where he had the good fortune to work closely with Eric Sykes for two years creating and performing comedy musical sketches.
By some strange turn of events over the last few years, Chris has also become a voice-over artist and one of the Country’s leading travel news presenters. He is now a regular broadcaster for the Classic FM travel Centre and appeared in the BBC TV Dying to Get There!
His songs and jingles are currently in use by BBC Radio.
This tribute to Cole Porter is a lightly devised affair. The narrator talks us through Cole’s life with chronological storytelling and the show opens with a few numbers from Porter’s Yale years.
Once we’re into his more fruitful period, the songs make the narrative worthwhile. Here are most of the standards plus a few surprises – James Pearson’s performance of ‘You Don’t Know Paree’ is one of the night’s highlights. The performers are young and they’re all able to shine when the material suits. Gemma Morsley offers fine sultry vocals in ‘Love for Sale’ and ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’. Lincoln Stone is a suave presence who seems ideally suited to ‘I’m a Gigolo’. Hara Yannas’ expressive features and sweet peep of a voice help her solo comic numbers, including ‘The Laziest Girl in Town’. Special mention too should go to MD Chris Lambert, who not only takes keyboard duties, but has a show-stealing turn in the obligatory ‘woman at bar’ scene.
The great Mr Porter is without doubt the master of melody, and his lyrics are second to none – think of the positive genius of rhyming that goes into Brush Up Your Shakespeare – “If your blonde won’t respond when you flatter ‘er / Tell her what Tony told Cleopatterer”.
He belonged to the days when lyrics had wit and every one of his shows contained many tunes of such diversity that the paucity of melody in recent musicals looks pale indeed – choosing the items for this show must have been a nightmare task.
I Happen to Like New York is handled masterfully by Tim McArthur, and arranger Kenneth Moule’s soaring harmonies in Most Gentlemen Don’t Like Love bring joy to the most jaded palate. As a criticism, in order to get the full impact of Brush Up…, it should be done as in the original by a pair of hoodlums,
Despite these niggles, the incredibly talented cast do director and choreographer Racky Plews proud. The show deserves a bigger theatre and a wider audience.